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Bill Harris: Dead at 63 after storm ordeal

Bill Harris, one of six Hurricane Katrina victims profiled in MSNBC.com's "Rebuilding Lives" series, didn't live long enough to rebuild his life.
Bill Harris cradles Miss Kitty during their hospital reunion on Sept. 9, 2005.
Bill Harris cradles Miss Kitty during their hospital reunion on Sept. 9, 2005.Special to MSNBC.com

Bill Harris didn't live long enough to rebuild his life.

The 63-year-old former prison guard from Slidell, La., died on Nov. 21, 2005, from gastro-intestinal bleeding, a condition likely exacerbated by his terrifying three-day ordeal during Hurricane Katrina, when he stood on a chair in his flooded condominium, clutching his beloved cat, Miss Kitty, to his chest.

He did survive long enough to be briefly reunited with Miss Kitty, the "miracle cat" that he credited with saving his life by leading him to the highest ground in his flooded home.

Miss Kitty is now living in Canada with Donna Wackerbauer, a volunteer with the animal rescue organization Noah’s Wish who was instrumental in briefly reuniting pet and master.